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Trial by Desire (Carhart #2)

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  1,402 ratings  ·  181 reviews

In the three years since her husband left her, Lady Kate Carhart has managed to forge a fulfilling life for herself. But when Ned Carhart unexpectedly returns, she finds her tranquility uprooted --- and her deepest secrets threatened. Though she has no intention of falling for Ned's charms, Kate can no longer deny the desire that st
Mass Market Paperback, 360 pages
Published September 28th 2010 by HQN Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,462)
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♡Karlyn P♡
DNF at halfway point, just not feeling the romance and not caring about the hero or heroine. It was original so I can see why many gave it 5-stars, but for me I just couldn't quit skimming as I wasn't being pulled into the story. I really wanted to like it as I so enjoyed her debut, so I will read more by this author. There was a lot of 'telling' and not as much 'showing' going on too, and while it was done well for me it was just too much narrative.
Ned Carhart left his wife Kate a mere three months after their marriage to go to China at the behest of his cousin to check out what was going on with the British and the Opium situation and to find himself. At the point of their marriage Ned considers himself something of a useless fribble with no responsibilities.

Kate is stunned and bereft.

Fast forward three years later and a lot has changed. Kate rescues women who are victims of domestic abuse and helps them to leave their husbands and reloc
I was one of the readers of Courtney Milan’s debut novel, Proof by Seduction, who finished that book hoping that Ned Carhart, cousin to Gareth Carhart, the Marquess of Blakely, would get his own story. Trial by Desire is Ned’s story, but Ned is no longer the confused boy of POS; he is now a man, tempered by the hard experiences of three years in China. He returns to his home and his marriage, determined to uncover the secrets his wife is safeguarding even as he protects his own secret.

Trial by D
Rating: 5 out of 5.

A beautiful story about estranged husband and wife. This is one of the few estranged romance stories I have ever read and liked. The best part of this romance was that both the heroine and the hero were true to one another throughout their separation. It wasn't like other stories where the hero/heroine profess to love the other, but then actually proceed to gallivant with other people.
Anna (Bobs Her Hair)
Grade: C - or weak 3 stars

Smoothly written story, a confident heroine who rescues abused women and a hero that battles depression should have been an angsty historical romance so why was it a struggle to maintain interest in this book? It felt tedious.

The Story
After three years abroad, Ned Carhart returns to England and his wife. He had left to conquer his inner demons and now has control over the melancholia that nearly destroyed him. The fear still lingers that he may sink into the pit of desp
I was first turned on (pun intended) to Courtney Milan thanks to Stacey's review of Proof by Seduction. Which I also ended up loving and have been eagerly anticipating this sequel for some time now!

I wasn't sure if Trial by Desire could live up to Proof by Seduction. Especially because in Poof by Seduction Ned was kind of a fuck-up. Sure, I liked him and felt sorry for him but I was wondering how Milan was going to turn Ned into hero material. But hero material he turned out to be!

Ned, determin
Mandi Schreiner
Favorite Quote: “I don’t like to lose control.”

Kate inched her fingers across the coverlet to his free hand. His knuckles were heated, even though he’d been sitting in the cold. “Ned,” she whispered, “let me inside your control.”

We first meet our hero Ned in Proof By Seduction, where we learn he battles many demons, and depression is a big part of his life. At the start of Trial by Desire, Ned is not done battling his demons yet. After only three short months of marriage to Kathleen Carhart, he
I will never ever stop being impressed by Courtney Milan's novels, mostly because not only are they the most helplessly and honestly heartfelt and romantic stories ever, they have such a PROFOUND sense of social justice to them--the plots are intelligent and they mean something and I always want to stand up and cheer and then maybe read a book or two about Victorian legal reform once they're over. God damn, she's my favourite author, and this book was great.
We met Ned Carhart in CM's Proof of Seduction and frankly I loved Ned. He was young and sweet. The glove with the teeth mark scene is still one of the funniest to me. But this story picks up about 3 months after PoS and Ned has married Kate.

Ned though feels that he needs to grow up before he can deserve Kate, so he takes off for China....for 3 years! When our Ned comes back he is a changed man, he has filled out those broad shoulders and cheek bones.

Kate however, isn't impressed she has 3 year
.þµŋψà. [Punya Reviews...]
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 24, 2012 Rose rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who love historical romances and developed characterizations
Recommended to Rose by: Courtney Milan
I originally read "Trial by Desire" in June of 2011, but I decided to re-read it in audiobook form and return to the book because I really enjoyed it. Lady Kate and Ned were both wonderful characters to get to know in the mix of events. I loved the opening of the novel where the two are reunited after quite some time apart. It takes place after the events of "Proof of Seduction" - where Ned returns from his travels as a more mature gentleman, though left unspoken - he still has his own internal ...more
Sophia (FV)
Rating 4.5
Our Ned is all grown up and wow! Again, I adore Courtney Milan's voice. I'm putting her on my auto buy list. Fabulous!!!
Another completely fabulous historical romance. I love non-typical characters!
Quite disappointing.

I’d been saving this book, so I could savour it whenever I felt like I needed to read a really good romance novel. After the last couple of months, it felt like it was time.

Trial by Desire is a sequel to Proof by Seduction and although the couple set up is much more believable than in its prequel, the romance itself isn’t.

A scandal forced Ned and Kate to marry, but it was clear that both of them—Ned—at least needed to grow up in leaps and bounds for them to earn their (bel
Lady Kate and Ned are found in a compromising position and are required to marry in order to save face. However three months into the marriage Ned decides he must go on a mission to China which leaves his new wife in a scandalous position. Three years pass and both Kate and Ned are quite aware of how little they know of one another. Thus the story begins on how they find their way to happiness.

I really liked Kate she had quite a bit of spunk as well as practicality. Ned was also an interesting c
Sylvia Sybil
Three years ago, Ned and Kate were forced into a marriage of convenience. Shortly afterward, Ned left to travel halfway around the world. Now he has returned to England, intending to prove to his wife that he has grown beyond the awkward youth she married. But as far as Kate is concerned, he showed his true colors when he abandoned her, a desertion that inspired the cruelties and vicious gossip of high society. Kate herself has a secret; she's been smuggling battered wives away from their husban ...more
The hero in this story, Ned Carhart, struggles with bipolar disorder. That's new. It isn't often you come across a romance hero that has to deal with and come to terms with being truly helpless and powerless (in this case brought down even more low by his depressive episodes). Of course being the hero, he strives and does rise above it, but the author managed a nice balance in showing just how desperately difficult it was for someone like him to do so without stripping him of the qualities that ...more
Harlequin Books
Reading Log Day 1
I started reading this afternoon and I'm hooked! I would be reading still but I had to come here and share my first impressions with you. :)

Lady Kate Carhart will be a fun character to get to know. She has spunk, secrets, and a caring heart. I have a feeling that she will be giving me many smiles and bursts of laughter throughout her story. Ned, her husband, thinks he has grown up in the three years he has been gone. LOL I can tell he has a lot to learn yet about what his wife w
This book starts in a way that belies is depth, complexity, and brilliance. It seems like you're about to get an average "reunion" romance, but in the end, you get so much more. This is not your average historical romance, but then, I know its author well enough never to expect anything "average" from her.

For me, I'll admit the book started a bit slowly. It wasn't that I was BORED, mind you, but rather that it wasn't until I got about 125 pages into the story that I had the absolutely compulsive
Oh, I so wanted to love, love, love this book and it just wasn't there. Ms Milan is a very graceful writer. Her prose sparkles, her characters are nicely fleshed out. But, I just didn't feel any connection to them.

And, I will be blunt, the book felt padded. There were scenes, and even set bits of dialog, that were repeated, some three or more times. Uh-oh--editor falling down on job? Word count needed? I don't know, but every time I encountered one of these I was pulled right out of the story.
This was a good book. But, I must admit, I was a bit disappointed. I think I just got rather impatient with all the excuses both parties kept coming up with for their fears.

This story is about Ned and Kate. In the previous book, Proof by Seduction, we learn that Ned is forced to marry Kate having put her in a compromising position. So, he marries her and promptly leaves for 3 years after only 3 months of marriage. This story begins with his return.

Kate is used to being on her own by now, but is
Had heard this was Ms. Milan's weakest effort as an author, and now I see why. It was just sort of meh, mostly because it was never really clear why exactly it was sooooo important for Ned to maintain his control. I know they didn't have words back then for conditions like depression and bipolar, one or both of which Ned seems to have, but Ned is just so mysterious the whole time it's very frustrating. I liked Kate, though. She was pretty cool.
Katrina Passick Lumsden
I liked this one more than the first, but still not enough to give it four stars. I sympathized with Ned, and I can't imagine how difficult it was to deal with something like depression during a time when people didn't even understand what it was. His protestations about not wanting to be a burden made sense in that context. I liked Kate, but she was harder to sympathize with since she tended to bury her feelings under heavy layers of what she believed to be practicality. Still, the writing and ...more
The second in the Carhart series. I enjoyed it more than the first novella, but not as much as Proof by Seduction. The book picks up with the tale of Ned and Katherine (Kate) In Seduction, Ned had been trying to ensure that Kate married his uncle by placing them in a compromising position. His plan failed and he found himself in a compromising position with the daughter of the most prominent Duke in England. Forced to marry, Kate hoped for the best. She found Ned attractive and enjoyed his compa ...more
After finishing Trial by Desire, I experienced a brief---but strong---moment of woe and panic when I thought it was the last Courtney Milan book I haven't read. But lo! I have another one. Crisis averted. But this is the state I get in over Courtney Milan's books.

After Proof by Seduction (book 1), I was curious what would happen to Ned. Because Ned landed himself in a marriage and he wasn't handling it very well. And while I understood, I also hated what was happening to Kate as a result.

So then
In the afterword, Milan freely admits that this was her most difficult novel, and unfortunately, it shows.

There are a couple different issues here. First is Ned's manic-depression, which she actually handles relatively gracefully. Second is the remarriage plot--when you're writing about Victorians, divorce really isn't much of an option. So writing troubled marriages when the parties can't easily walk away is tricky. She does ok at this.

I think the real problem, though, is a bait-and-switch fr
Sheila Melo
Unique Concept

TRIAL BY DESIRE is the second novel in the Carhart series. It is the sequel to PROOF BY SEDUCTION and fans of that book will be happy to see Ned Carhart get his happy ever after. In PERIOD BY SEDUCTION, Ned gets married after mistakenly compromising Lady Kathleen. This book takes place three years later. Ned, who is bipolar (though it is never called as such in the book) left because of his struggles with depression. He has now returned to a wife he barely knows. Kate has spent th
Cherie Jensen
I know, I know. I'm giving five stars, a rarity, to a book even the author admits is not her favorite by a long shot. But this story is deep and the lessons I learned are important. Courtney Milan doesn't just write emotions and therefore they are. She writes and the emotions bloom like time-lapse photography. I think she picked a nearly impossible scenario to write a romance on and made it possible. I have no question in my mind that Ned loves Kate and Kate loves Ned. I have no question in my m ...more
Given that Trial by Desire is Courtney Milan's following up to her debut novel- this romance is even more extraordinary. The portrayal of the subject matter (Ned's ongoing battle with his mental health) being told in such a smart, poignant and touchingly romantic way is a credit to Ms Milan's writing talent.
Read this as a part of a class I'm taking on Readers and Readers Advisory.

More like 1.5 stars. This is the first true "romance" book I've ever read, and I will say it's not my thing. I did have some preconceived notions of what a historical romance would be, and Trial By Desire filled a lot of those - secrets, unbridled passions, weird sex scenes, etc.

I was pleasantly surprised by the female protagonist Kate, whose "dark secret" was actually a nice change from the subversive role I feel most wom
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Courtney Milan lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, a marginally-trained dog, and an attack cat. Courtney wishes she could say she has lived in numerous fabulous places. But aside from her husband, there is a distinct lack of fabulousness in her life. Instead, she is happy when standards in the Milan household hover above mediocrity. Her husband attempts not to kill people for a living ...more
More about Courtney Milan...

Other Books in the Series

Carhart (3 books)
  • This Wicked Gift (Entangled Edge)
  • Proof by Seduction (Carhart, #1)
The Duchess War (Brothers Sinister, #1) The Governess Affair (Brothers Sinister, #0.5) Unveiled (Turner, #1) Unlocked (Turner, #1.5) The Heiress Effect (Brothers Sinister, #2)

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“Our marriage lasted a few months. Once you left, what remained faded faster than the ink on the license. And what's left..well, it could blow away in one tiny puff of wind."
"Well,then." he spoke with an air of certainty. "I'll try not to exhale."
"Don't bother. I stopped holding my breath years before.”
“Some servent with no sense of the symbolic had kept the hinges well-oiled during the years of his absence,as if their marital life had merely been cast into temporary abeyance.” 3 likes
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